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Delivering a World-Class Education at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School

By Marina I. Jokic

The boarding school experience can be a deeply rewarding one for students and faculty. The Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Rabun Gap, Georgia strives to expose students not just to an exceptional curriculum delivered by expert instructors, but also to teach them important life skills.

Megan Studdard, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communication at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee, is a firm believer in the mission of the school which aspires to promote work, study, and worship. Founded in 1903 at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Rabun Gap has built one of the strongest academic programs, infused with a Presbyterian heritage and designed to inspire children to learn about the world and develop as global citizens. Moreover, it is an independent, coeducational college-preparatory school serving students in grades 5 through 12 for day school and 7 through 12 for boarding school.

Some valuable life skills emphasized at Rabun Gap include personal responsibility, leadership, time management, and conflict resolution. "Living in a community creates many occasions for students to learn a lot about themselves and others," says Studdard.

Another major advantage that the students have is developing lasting relationships with their faculty mentors. The faculty's primary purpose is to make themselves available inside and outside of the classroom in all matters of life. Faculty and students worship together, volunteer for community service, and attend sporting events- all great ways to build lasting relationships.

There are many advantages to attending Rabun Gap, one of which is that each student has made a conscious choice to be there. That willingness really shapes the student's experience as well as that of his or her peers. "It is a place where students take pride and responsibility in their school," adds Studdard.

At the risk of sounding cliché, Rabun Gap is also a community in every sense of the word where people support each other academically and emotionally. Studdard stresses that "by offering the boarding program at Rabun Gap, students make friends who come from all areas of the globe." The boarding program represents fifteen states forty-two countries.

Studdard points out that the school offers Advanced Placement and Honors classes. It also holds the very valuable distinction of being only one of nine schools in the state to be a member of the Cum Laude Society. In addition to its rigorous academics, the school also offers a variety of arts, dance and athletic programs, having twenty-eight sports teams on campus and frequently participates in state level competitions.

Some of the most popular clubs at Rabun Gap include ESP (Environmental Stewardship Program) and PEACE Team (Peer Counselors). The Honor Council, Student Government and Prefects offer a broad range of leadership opportunities for those interested. The ESP in particular teaches students about sustainable living and resource consumption.

In addition to identifying an reducing the school's overall carbon footprint through a mixture of renewable energy- geothermal, wind, solar, and biofuel, Rabun Gap has also introduced composting in their cafeteria.

Rabun Gap has also created STEAM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math program that teaches students how to design, build, and test their unique projects, a very hands-on approach. "Past project examples have included a steam engine, biodiesel go-cart, drone and battery operated motorcycle, among others," says Studdard.

Even though this is a private school, 75% of the students receive some level of financial aid, which allows children of all socio-economic backgrounds to attend Rabun Gap.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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